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A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showed that 48 percent of Americans believe the U.S. economy is headed for an all-out depression within a year. This is great news, because it means that nearly half of all Americans are starting to awaken from their slumber and realize that Obama and his media allies have been lying about the existence of a non-existent recovery.

I say “starting” because I have no way of knowing how many of these people truly understand the underlying causes of the depression they believe is on the way. (I hasten to add that, in truth, we are, and have long been, in an invisible depression – a depression shielded from the public by easy credit and excessive money creation. But that’s another story for another day.)

There’s another piece of good news to go with CNN’s 48 percent figure. In a recent Allstate/National Journal poll, 47 percent of Americans say they “would definitely or probably” not vote for Obama no matter who the Republican candidate is. So the 48 and 47 percent figures sound like a winning combo – or, put another way, a losing combo for Obama.

But not so fast. The bad news is that Mitt Romney is the early front runner for the Republican nomination, with the tea-party candidates stuck at the back of the pack (though Michele Bachmann may now be breaking through as a result of her stellar performance in Monday’s CNN debate). Nevertheless, if Romney does end up winning the nomination, I believe he’ll make Obama look and sound like a fumbling, stumbling high-school kid in head-to-head debates.

So, what’s the problem? Simply that if Romney becomes president, probably the best we can hope for is that he’ll be another George W. Bush. Yes, I’m talking about the same George W. Bush who, just as Herbert Hoover did for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, gifted Obama the presidency with his big-spending policies. And the worst that might happen to the United States, courtesy of the guy who created the model for Obamacare, is too bad to even contemplate.

Another piece of bad news that offsets the 48 and 47 percent anti-Obama figures is that the same CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that 75 percent of Americans approve of BHO “personally.” Huh? What planet are these folks living on? They obviously know little or nothing about Obama’s upbringing, his past and current associations, his debt and spending policies and his endless, ongoing lies that everyone can easily witness on television and the Internet on a daily basis.

The problem is that because it’s a certainty that Obama will obfuscate, lie and spin the truth thousands of times over the next 17 months – and unmercifully smear whoever his opponent may be – it is not hard to imagine him swinging enough voters over to his side to dramatically reduce the 47 percent figure (people who say they won’t vote for him) and, in the process, win re-election.

And once out of campaign mode, you can be sure that Obama would go right back to putting the redistribution-of-wealth throttle on full thrust in an attempt to finish the job he was taught to do by his radical mother, his proud-to-be-a-communist father (whose teachings were related to him by his mother), his ideological mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, his spiritual mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, community-organizing guru Saul Alinsky, American-hating terrorist Bill Ayers, Frances Fox Piven (of “overwhelming the system” fame), et al. The list is endless, it’s ugly, it’s Marxist, and it’s lethal.

Clearly, Republicans need a presidential nominee who is willing to be bold and aggressive in exposing the truth about Obama, his background, his allies, his ideology, his policies and his vision of America as a model collectivist state. What will not work is the make-nice stuff like John McCain’s mushy, “That’s for others to judge, not me,” and Jon Huntsman’s self-righteous, “I believe we ought to have a civil discourse in this country.” Which means the Republican Party needs to nominate a tea-party type.

Unfortunately, another poll – this one by Rasmussen Reports – makes it clear that the tea-party folks are going to have a huge hill to climb to get one of their own nominated. The poll found that only 16 percent of all voters now consider themselves to be members of the tea-party movement, down from 21 percent at the end of 2010. That is not good news.

So the big problem Republicans now face is how to find and nominate a candidate who believes, deep down in his/her heart, in Ayn Rand’s tenet: “Judge, and prepare to be judged.”

The Master of Misdirection has had nearly two-and-a-half years to show us what he meant by “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Now it’s time for him to be judged – candidly and harshly – for his success in bringing America to its moral and financial knees. It’s time for his free pass to come to an end.

But if Mitt Romney is the guy who ends it, don’t get your hopes up that we’ll see smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation and more freedom. I could be wrong, but … in any event, stay tuned. Things are likely to change on a weekly basis. Let’s just hope the changes are for the better. We have already found out the hard way that change can also result in our worst nightmare.

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